In the eyes of superhero fans who grew up in the 1990s, there will probably never be a more definitive animated rendition of Batman than that presented in FOX Kids’ Batman: The Animated Series. Debuting in 1992 and running until 1995, Batman: TAS was co-created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, and took many cues from the Tim Burton-directed Batman films that were popular at the time. However, Batman: TAS quickly carved out its own spot in the Caped Crusader’s on-screen legacy, often presenting complex stories and challenging characterizations way beyond what any other kid-targeted superhero cartoon of the era was doing.
The impact made by Batman: TAS has been so long-lasting that actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are still constantly sought after to provide the voices of Batman and the Joker today, over 20 years after the series aired its final episode. Batman: TAS also represents a rare instance of a character created for a TV adaptation becoming so wildly beloved that she was eventually incorporated into DC’s main Batman canon, that being psychotic psychiatrist and Joker significant other Harley Quinn.
Now, Warner Bros./DC and Mattel are teaming up to introduce a whole new generation of Bat-fans to the world of Batman: The Animated Series, by way of a virtual reality experience for the current iteration of the View-Master. For those who remember the early View-Master toy from their own childhoods, be advised that the modern version has been given a complete overhaul for today’s technological age. The modern View-Master is a Google Cardboard-compatible VR headset that can be used in conjunction with any compatible iOS or Android phone.
Batman: TAS is reportedly only the first of multiple VR experiences based on classic properties planned for the View-Master, although further titles have yet to be announced. Also yet to be clarified is what exactly the VR experience based on Batman: TAS will entail. One would assume that users would get transported to a virtual version of some of the series’ iconic locations, likely with fan favorite heroes and villains around to interact with. It’ll be especially interesting to see which villains are included, as Batman possesses arguably the greatest rogues gallery in the entire comic book world, with TAS having featured appearances by nearly all the Dark Knight’s notable foes.
Designed with adults in mind or not, it’s not hard to imagine lots of folks with fond memories of Batman: TAS taking the View-Master VR experience for a spin. Who, at some point in their lives, hasn’t wanted to hang out with Batman in the Batcave, or perhaps attend a roundtable meeting of Gotham’s greatest bad guys as they plot how next to take over the city? Some of these things might now be possible thanks to the modern realities of VR.
Batman: The Animated Series’ VR experience does not yet have a firm release date.